By admin       2017-11-02

Farmers' organisations in Telangana are planning to disrupt the arrivals of cotton to the major markets in the state from Thursday in protest against low market prices offered by the traders. The proposed move coincides with sporadic instances of suicides by small farmers in a sign of growing distress among the cotton farmers in this season. Local news papers reported three such suicides on a single day on Tuesday. Farmers were being paid between Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,000 per quintal in major markets like Warangal as against the minimum support price( MSP) of Rs 4,320 per tonne, according to the farmers associations. Telangana is the third largest cotton producer in India after Gujarat and Maharashtra while cotton acreage in the state has increased by a whopping 54 percent during this Kharif season covering 4.75 million acres, which is almsot half of the total cultivated area in the state. Besides the increased supply, discoloration due to untimely rains and high moisture content were also being cited as reasons for the lower market prices. "Starting from chilli crop to then turmeric and paddy and now cotton and pulses, farmers in the state have been getting only one third of the price they were promised at the time of sowing. We are left with no other option but to stop bringing the produce to the market at least for a period of one week to bring pressure on the government to ensure MSP for cotton," All India Kisan Sabha vice president Sarampally Malla Reddy told Business Standard. All the farmers bodies have been coming together to enforce the stoppage of cotton arrivals at all the major markets including Warangal and Adilabad as a mark of protest against alleged government apathy in ensuring MSP to cotton in the state, according to him. However, the state marketing department's daily reports suggest that the cotton prices were currently in the range of Rs 3,600 to Rs 4,250 per quintal at local markets, a claim strongly disputed by the farmers organisations. Telangana government has been talking about regulating the crop areas of major commercial crops like cotton in tune with the market realities. However the farmers were increasingly favouring the cotton crop owing to relatively better prices they had seen in the past couple of years compared to that of other crops among other reasons. Ahead of the last Kharif season in 2016, chief minister K Chandrasekhara Rao had appealed to farmers to go for pulses instead of cotton. However, the prices of pulses crashed more than that of cotton when the harvesting came. This has led to farmers protests. Early this year the government had estimated that the state would produce more than 6 million bales (1 bale equals to 170 kg) cotton during this Kharif season. This year the cotton trade estimated a 10-15 percent higher output at 33.7 million bales in the country.

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